Siege of the Isles podcast: Irish stories behind the films

Welcome to the Siege of the Isles podcast, where we explore through the lens of the film the fascinating conflicts that have shaped Ireland’s history.

Our podcast is hosted by an Irish multi-media journalist named Éanna Macaoidh, and co-hosted by three film lovers: Sagar and Shaurya from India, and Lingbing from China. The four of us will share our views and examine chronologically through film pivotal moments in Irish history and their depiction on the big screen. We will be interviewing experts with Irish history or film backgrounds, exploring the historical truth behind these films.

We hope that all film lovers and hibernophiles enjoy!

Episode 1: The Banshees of Inisherin(2022)

Synopsis: At the tail end of the Irish Civil War in 1923, on the fictional Irish island of Inisherin, folk musician Colm abruptly begins ignoring his lifelong friend and drinking buddy Pádraic. After several instances of fighting and pestering, Colm became more resistant to Pádraic’s attempts to speak to him and even gave him an ultimatum: every time Pádraic bothered him or tried to talk to him, Colm will cut off one of his own fingers with a pair of sheep shears, which brought alarming consequences for both.

In our first episode, we delved into the Irish Civil War 1920s, a time when Irish society was split in two because of the Anglo-Irish treaty, which ended the armed struggle for independence against Britain. We shared our first feelings about a dark tragicomedy film, the Banshees of Inisherin (2022), and presented our confusion about the plot and characters while expressing our understanding based on our personal experiences. We then spoke with Dr Giada Lagana, who is an Italian woman with a great passion for Irish history and is a lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics. Dr Lagana analysed the war through its portrayal and provided her insights on the war symbolised in The Banshees of Inisherin(2022) and its relevance today.

Episode 2: Bloody Sunday (2002)

Synopsis: Our second film is based on the Bogside massacre that happened on 30 January 1972. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland were fourteen people died: thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to his injuries. The drama shows the events of the day through the eyes of Ivan Cooper, an SDLP Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland who was a central organiser of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march in Derry.

In our second episode, we move on to Bloody Sunday(2002). This is a film of the same name based on a real historical event——Bloody Sunday or Bogside Massacre, which is considered the worst mass shooting in Northern Irish history because so many civilians were killed by forces of the state. Similarly, four of us first shared our feelings about this heavy film. We all expressed our resentment and dissatisfaction combining our own countries’ history and personal experiences. Then we realised there were a lot of facts we were confused  about Irish history, so we spoke to Dr Eleanor Leah Williams, a young scholar with rich knowledge of Northern Irish and Colombian conflicts. She not only provided us with detailed historical knowledge, but also shared her unique insights: Why do we still need to look back at this painful history today

In our next episode, we’ll continue our exploration of Irish history on film. The next option is Hunger (2008), which is a 2008 historical drama film about the 1981 Irish hunger strike.

Please stay tuned to our Spotify channel for the latest episode.

Production team: Shaurya(Left), Sagar(Middle), Eanna(Right)